Disconnected finance and operations teams can damage growth and competitive advantage, said KPMG recently when releasing results of a global survey of 1,300 business leaders.
- Just 38% of senior executives within the two functions are “very satisfied” with the alignment of objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) across the two teams.
- Less than half of the finance and operations leaders surveyed said key business processes are fully connected across their functions, and only 41% are very satisfied with the ability of the IT systems of separate functions to interact.
- Less than half of finance and operations leaders are “very satisfied” with their use of data for key business processes, with just 42 percent being “very satisfied” with their ability to make informed decisions based on data.
- 85% of finance and operations leaders want to play a greater role in driving enterprise-wide transformation in the next three years.
- 98% of finance and operations leaders are seeking to obtain new skillsets for their function; however, seven in 10 only think about the needs of their own function when obtaining new skills.
- The vast majority of leaders (97%) plan to invest in at least one new technology during the next 18 months; however, 74% do not coordinate with other business functions when acquiring and implementing new technology.
- Six in 10 of the leaders are unclear on their specific roles and responsibilities today in relation to ESG risks and initiatives, despite 85% saying that ESG will be an area of focus for their businesses.
This phenomenon of disconnected finance and operations teams highlights an important challenge for business leaders as unconnected processes, siloed systems, differing priorities and disagreements over responsibilities cause divisions between the two functions, which can impact overall company performance and informed decision-making, KPMG noted.
Collaboration is vital to overcome these challenges, with successful companies helping to bridge the gap through data sharing, integrated technology, internal efficiencies, and the creation of seamless customer experiences, the firm said.
Meanwhile, those that fail to align the two functions may risk sub-optimal decision-making, inefficient resource allocation, missed opportunities and weakened customer experiences, KPMG pointed out.
“A lack of clarity of ownership of key processes as well as a lack of collaboration, data sharing and technology integration appear to be the most significant issues holding back progress,” said Peter Liddell, Partner, Global Operations Center of Excellence Lead KPMG Australia.
In addition, the survey finds that the majority of finance and operations leaders currently lack confidence in their ability to leverage new technology, draw insights from data, and obtain the skillsets they will need for the future, KPMG said.
As a result, improving and reinventing their functions’ operating model is considered a top priority, the firm added.
Embracing new ways of working and adopting a coordinated approach to upgrading skillsets, data and technology, in addition to integrating business planning, could prove mutually beneficial in identifying overlaps in future requirements and helping to define and improve their operating models, KPMG advised.